This weekend marks MLB’s inaugural Players Weekend. According to MLB’s own promotional material “Major Leaguers will let their personalities and passions shine like never before when the newly created Players Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 25, to Sunday, Aug. 27.”
Is this a good idea? A gimmick? I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, I recognize that the game of baseball needs to do a better job of reaching a new generation of fans and celebrating a dynamic group of stars. On the other hand, I don’t think that gimmicks like this can make up for overpriced tickets, overpaid players, slow play, and late start times.
I’m curious to see how it goes. I was a bit skeptical of the All Star Game in Miami last month, but that event turned out to be a success.
In order for #PlayersWeekend is to be deemed a success, I would like to see some simple guidelines enforced:
- #PonleAcento: It should come as no surprise that I’d want to see apodos accented properly just as if they were apellidos. For example, I’d like Rick Porcello’s ‘VEINTIDOS’ to be ‘VEINTIDÓS,’ and I’d like Miguel Sanó’s ‘BOQUETON’ to read ‘BOQUETÓN.’ The fact that these unis are being created special order or this weekend–not legacy gear–should mean they respect the name and everything the #ponleacento campaign represents.
- Less is more: Xander Bogaerts’ ‘X’ is kind of awesome. Nolan Arenado’s ‘NADO’ is nice. Josh Donaldson’s ‘BRINGER OF RAIN’ is a bit of a stretch. David Price’s ‘ASTRO’S DAD’ is awful. For the record Astro is Price’s French bulldog, proving once again that he is no ace in the PR department.
- Celebrate history: Perhaps as part of this weekend, perhaps separate from it, it would be fascinating to see franchise’s select a retired number to wear like all of MLB does with Jackie Robinson’s #42. Added bonus: this could be decided via fan voting akin to the All Star Game.
- Celebrate today: I continue to believe that MLB can do a better job of marketing stars in local, national and global markets. Look at the seasons Trout, Harper, Altuve, Sale, Kershaw, and Arenado are having. Marvel at the milestones of veterans like Beltré, Pujols and Ichiro. Look ahead to the bright future of Bellinger, Betts, Benintendi, Judge and Devers. In addition to theme days and destination games, MLB has to be able to do a better job celebrating stars and selling the game. The ongoing question is ‘How?’
- Non-traditional uniforms are dangerous: MLB has had hits and misses when it comes to non-traditional uniforms. Let’s remember that Tuesday August 8th marked the 38th anniversary the “reveal” of the Chicago White Sox short set. Respect the past. Trust traditional color schemes. Choose breathable materials. Leave the pants long. Do that and everything should be okay.